top of page
  • Writer's picturemcborwankar

The Culture of Cuts & Corruption

Updated: Feb 19




I saw a new India in the eyes of youngsters I interacted with during a two days conference organised by an Institute at Jaipur. They have been identified as under thirty achievers of the country. One of them is into solar energy, another into drones, third into education, fourth into the unholy world of liquor and wines and a few more. Many of them have patents in their names at this young age while others have cracked the code for getting the elusive equity. One has left a lucrative job in an MNC to help preserve the traditional crafts of tribals in Odisha and the North East, while the other is flying to Brazil and Chile looking for alternate energy solutions. The common denominator is their youth.


They are unconventional in their thinking and approach. To my mind they are the ones who would change India as the conventional, in the box thinkers of my generation failed the country. Manufacturing was never emphasised and agriculture was ignored. The all round scarcity bred corruption. Many good brains distressed with either the stifling atmosphere or the corrupt environment left the country causing another blow.

A young friend recently told me that I wasted my thirty six years in police as corruption is rampant. Another friend told me that to get any bill cleared from the government a fixed sum had to be paid to a particular minister who has now employed four well qualified consultants to ensure the ill gotten money is safely accounted for and invested. He is the same minister I had once refused to meet having returned to the state police after a deputation in CBI. I have discussed it in my recent book 'Madam Commissioner'. He has changed many hats and parties and refined the art of craft & graft to unimaginable levels.

Another friend has been approaching the education department to get her bills cleared for a series of training workshops conducted five years back. I don’t have the heart to tell her to pay up and accept the rest and never take up an assignment for a government department if she is not ready for the 'cut'. This despite the party in the centre and its allies in states claiming to have wiped out corruption.

I have been wondering at my own cynicism, when I met the under thirty heroes.

They are so full of positive energy that it scares me. Would they turn into cynics like me a decade later, I wonder. Would they keep facing the inertia that kept the government from coming out with a concrete policy on drones for nearly seven years. Imagine where would we have been if we had cleared it in 2016, when I had found it lying at the North Block, New Delhi.

Would the youngsters face the inspector raj that on paper has been dismantled but lives on like a dangerous dragon whose appetite is never satiated? Would the corruption and the inertia make the under thirty leave the country in search of value for their talent abroad? I have no answer as times have not changed. Ministers have only become more adept at taking money with a straighter faces and new political hats.

Thinking that I should not give up, I warned the drone guy to attach a legal document while transporting blood to the needy as he did in Arunachal. Just so that he does not get harassed by legal rigmarole in case the transferred blood develops some impurity. And the solar energy guy to meet senior officers if he is harassed by the inspectors. I am not sure if that advice works but most citizens feel that there is more patient hearing and less corrupt practices at the senior levels of bureaucracy. And that there is the sweetest possible lip service at the level of politicians with absolutely no action till payments as per the latest going 'cut' rates are made.

Many readers say a blog is not good if it does not give a solution. I have none for the inertia and corruption I hear about, the prime minister's tall claims not withstanding.

Technology and more of it, from court trials to clearing of bills, could probably be one viable solution that comes to my mind.

Or may be I should not have accepted the invite of the institute and interacted with the bright beacons, under thirty!

754 views7 comments

Recent Posts

See All

7 Comments


Little Star
Little Star
May 27

Watching how Pune police intentionally mishandled and manipulated Pune Porsche crash case, I wonder what has changed since the bygone era. Same old corrupt police from top to bottom. Shameful.

Like

Meeran Borwankar
Meeran Borwankar
Feb 27

Thanks

Like

Smita Bhide
Smita Bhide
Feb 22

I think both will have benefitted from the interaction.

Your hard won experience will perhaps temper their enthusiasm,but they will fight the good fight,because you have done so.


Like
Meeran Borwankar
Meeran Borwankar
Feb 27
Replying to

Hope we can bring transparency and honesty instead of letting them fend for themselves!

Like

Syed Waquar Raza
Syed Waquar Raza
Feb 22

Ma’am, to add to the possible solutions may I offer a few points:


  1. There is a need for more transparency in Govt procurements and payments. Transparency within the department to start with. And that can be done by putting all purchase and payment records in databases which can be viewed by many people, and not just one or two persons. Paperwork has to be replaced by digital transparent databases. Nobody wants to be corrupt in public. And no politician can stop officers from making digital open databases.

  2. Promoting conscientious and honest officers so that they are in such positions where there is a lot of financial power; and at other places too.

Like
Meeran Borwankar
Meeran Borwankar
Feb 27
Replying to

Good suggestions. Thanks.

Lot of digitization and purchases to be made through government portals have helped. But a long way to go.....

Like

Vineet Abhishek
Vineet Abhishek
Feb 20

Wonderful article Mam. Compels us to think as to how we must build anti-corruption strategies into the system.

Like
bottom of page